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Improving IAQ: Comparing Dehumidifiers and Humidifiers

Regulating the amount of moisture in your home’s air is crucial to your family’s health and comfort. In Cleburne, TX, there are times during the year when the air is too wet. There are also times when it’s too dry. Both can cause problems. Moist air can get musty and breed pathogens, while dry air can leave your skin dry and cracked and your throat sore. To solve these problems, you may need both a humidifier and dehumidifier. Let’s look at how dehumidifiers and humidifiers can keep your home healthy and comfortable year-round.

What’s a Dehumidifier?

Dehumidifiers draw moisture out of your home’s air. Typically, they do this by cooling a coil, causing water from the air to condense on it and fall into a reservoir. They then discard the excess moisture. Some systems discard the water automatically through a drain, while others require you to empty it manually.

The air conditioning coil inside your ductwork acts as a kind of dehumidifier, too. That’s why you must run a water line from your air handler to a drain. But many homes require additional humidity control for them to avoid getting musty. This is especially true of basements.

Benefits of a Dehumidifier

Lowering the amount of humidity in your home can keep you and your home healthy. Too much humidity can worsen existing problems like allergies and asthma and cause pathogens to flourish in your house. It can also make your home smell damp and musty.

A healthy humidity level is between 35 and 50 percent. But during the Texas summer, the humidity outside averages over 80 percent. After cooling the warm air from outside down, the humidity level rises even higher.

This phenomenon is why you may see condensation on your windows after running your air conditioner for a long time. In many Texas homes, a dehumidifier is a necessary addition during the summer months.

What’s a Humidifier?

A humidifier takes water from a reservoir and evaporates it into the air, raising the humidity level. In the old days, this might have just been a pot of water boiling on the stove. Today, there are much more energy-efficient and effective solutions.

A humidifier may be a small, standalone device, meant for one room or a few rooms, or it may attach to your HVAC system. Standalone models are less expensive, but require frequent cleaning and may only have two settings: on and off.

A whole-house humidifier installs inside your ductwork and keeps your entire house at a specific humidity level. It may also be controlled remotely and shut off automatically once your home reaches a certain humidity. It also requires less frequent cleaning than a small humidifier, which may need to be disinfected weekly.

Benefits of a Humidifier

While Texas may be a humid place during the summer, it’s dry during the winter. Cold air holds much less moisture than warm air. So when you heat your house, you automatically lower the humidity level of the air. A humidifier puts moisture into the warmed air, keeping your house at a comfortable humidity.

Low humidity can dry your skin, causing it to crack. It can dry your nasal passages, causing them to become sore and making you more susceptible to airborne pathogens.

Low humidity can also cause the finishes on your wood products to dry and crack or the wood itself to shrink. These problems can be solved with a humidifier during the winter.

Using a dehumidifier during the summer and a humidifier during the winter can keep your air quality high and your family happy and healthy all year. If you’re interested in improving your home’s air quality this summer or any other time, contact Airmasters AC, Heat, Plumbing & Electrical today.

Image provided by iStock

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